Please welcome a new arrival


No, itâs not a new baby, itâs a new bike (frame to be exact). The posties dropped a box at WMB with âS-Worksâ printed on the side and that could only mean my new frame had arrived.


I appreciate full sus XC bikes (Iâve got one of the best ever made in my Turner 02) they do let you go further, faster and leave you in good enough shape to do it again day after day. But, there is always a place for hard tails. If youâre a rider who appreciates immediacy in power transfer and purity when it come to the feeling of the trail passing quickly beneath you, youâll know what Iâm on about.

Anyway, Iâve been riding and loving the Trek 9.9 Elite hardtail thatâs featured in this months WMB. It is a true race bike in every respect. Everything from the materials, to the geometry to the spec is designed to make the bike go fast. Itâs long and low, if youâre a speedster, youâll You canât help but ride the bike aggressively, which is perfect when youâre supposed to be winning races.

For me, personally, Iâd have loved the bike even more if it had a fraction less in the top tube. Which got me to thinking â and looking at other bikes. Specifically,it got me looking at the new Specialized S-Works carbon hardtail. This bike (only a frame in the UK) is essentially, Specializedâs take on the 9.9 concept. That is, a balls out made for racing hardtail. Mmm..pass me the Lycra vicar, Iâm going in.

My 17in disc only frame weighs 1320grams with the upper and lower headset bearing installed (this is how it comes delivered). It also comes with a Specialized FACT carbon seatpost (on the 15 and 17in models â the larger 19 and 21in models get a layback Thomson alloy model).

The frame is gloss black laquer over Specializeds AZ1 carbon lay up. This looks like patches of carbon layed over each other rather than the traditional carbon weave look, (which on most bikes is only a cosmetic layer any way).

I took the frame home and couldnât get started on building it until after getting my three year old son to bed, having dinner etc..

At half nine Friday night I got started, by whipping a few choice parts from other bikes that are due for winter storage anyway. By half ten I was ready to begin. Without rushing I worked through trimming and installing new cables, sorting a rear disc brake issue (with the brake, not the frame), trimming a steerer tube, fiddling with the headset. Sorting the gears, messing with the BB spacing. I even decided to bung new chain rings on as the last thing at about ten to one on Saturday morning.

By half one I was finished. Far from being tired and bleary eyed, I was wide awake, the thought of riding a new bike was making me itchy to ride. If it wouldnât have woken the missus and the boy wonder, Iâd have suited up and taken it for a rip right there and then. As it was I washed my oily hands (why does running water sound so loud in the middle of the night?) and crept into bed.

Finished it then? was her only comment. I was asleep before I could muster a yes.

Iâll let you know how it rides later

But hereâs the starting spec and a pic to be going on with.

Fork Pace RC39 C-Type

Headset Dia Compe integrated

Stem Hope zero degree rise 90mm

Bar Easton Monkey Light XCSL

Grips ODI Tomac Attack

Brakes Magura Marta SL

Shifters SRAM XO

Front Mech SRAM X-Gen

Rear Mech SRAM XO short arm

Crank Truvativ Stylo carbon 175mm

Rings Stronglight ceramic 22/32/42

Pedals Shimano PD 959

Saddle Selle San Marco Magma

Wheels Mavic CrossMax SL


Tyres Scott Onyx 2.0